Posted:   Jan 22, 2015

I headed back to grab our checkbook to write a check for wasting that man’s time.  It was so heartbreaking for me and probably so much more for Corey.  I really think that Corey wanted to end the mystery of his biological dad but there weren’t enough similarities to even think that he was.  I had the checkbook earlier to pay our first mortgage payment.  It was back in a drawer in our dresser.  I opened it but it wasn’t there.  I began opening drawers.  I opened the bottom one and saw Corey’s annuals that Teague had given him for his 21st birthday.  I grabbed them with great hope that maybe this would be the proof that we needed.  I laughed seeing the checkbook sitting on top of the dresser but was thankful to have found the annuals.

I returned with Corey sitting in the loveseat with his legs crossed.  I looked over and saw Phil had his legs crossed the same way. 

“How much?” I asked with a pen in my hand and ready to write.

“Will fifty dollars be okay?” Corey asked looking so disappointed.

“That will be just fine,” Phil replied.

“Corey, I found your annuals,” I said and held them up. “Maybe there’s a picture in here that could help.”

“I doubt it but I can see Billy when he was younger,” Phil said referring to Teague.

I handed one annual to him and used the other one to write out the check.  I tore it off and handed it to him. 

“Corey, maybe you can help him out and find a picture of you,” I said and handed him the other one.

“We’ll just wait.  I do hope you find one in a hurry.  We’ve got things to do,” Phil said.

“I’ll be as fast as I can,” Corey said and began flipping through the pages.  “Here’s one of me.”

Phil took the annual with Corey pointing at a picture and reached in his front pocket for glasses.  His wife Beth leaned over.  He turned his head, took off his glasses and covered his face.  His wife reached over and grabbed him for a hug and a kiss. 

“That will be exactly how Eli looks in a few years,” Beth said with tears running down her face.

Phil stood with tears streaming down his face.  “Come here… my boy… let your dad give you big hug.”

Corey started crying and stood.  He was sobbing and grabbed Phil.  Now tears were running down my face seeing the two embrace.  Beth stood and joined in.  I watched and was crying but was so happy.  Corey turned and waved me over to join them.  “Our family…” Phil said.  “I have a very handsome son.”

“I know my…real dad,” Corey sobbed.  He turned and kissed me.  “Matt, I’m… so happy.”

“I can tell.  I’m so happy for everyone,” I said.  “Let me get some tissues for everyone.”

Phil grabbed reached in his pocket and grabbed his handkerchief.  He wiped his eyes, “First let me apologize to Corey.  I’m very sorry for being rude to you.  That was me in my high school or about as close as it gets.”

“No need to apologize.  I didn’t really see it either,” Corey said and wiped his eyes.

“Matt, that was the sign from God that Beth and I had prayed for last night.  I would love to say a prayer of thanks,” Phil said and said a very heartwarming prayer with the four of us.

I went to grab some tissues from the bathroom and returned with Corey sitting on the couch next to his dad.  We blew our noses and wiped away the tears. 

“Where do we start?” Phil asked.

“I don’t know.  I was all set five minutes ago with you leaving,” Corey replied.  “I suppose the first question would be how do feel about the fact that I’m gay?”

“We’re okay with it.  We know that you didn’t have a choice in the matter,” Beth replied.

“I’m learning every day to accept people.  Years ago, I wouldn’t be so accepting.  I believe God loves everyone.  I was the worst person ever.  It took sitting in a prison and knowing something in my life had to change.  I found religion and haven’t turned back,” Phil said and reached in his pocket.  “I’m tearing this check up.  It wasn’t a waste of our time.”

“Keep it…ummm..” Corey said.  “I don’t know what to call you.”

“Call me whatever you feel comfortable with. Call me Dad if you want or Phil,” he said and grabbed the annual.  He pointed at the picture of Corey standing for a group picture.  “This is how I looked in what the tenth or eleventh grade?”

“I think that one is my eleventh grade one,” Corey said with a big smile.

“The other is his senior one,” I said.

“The thing I don’t get in all of this is the timeline.  I must have met your mother a long time before I went off to prison,” Phil said.  “It’s not that I don’t believe it now but that was the main fact that told me this wasn’t possible and someone was wasting my time.”

“I did just turn 24.  Matter of fact, Thursday to be exact,” Corey said.

“I know you said that but that would put you being born in the year 1990,” Phil said.

“No, he was born in 1991,” I said.

“Phil, you forgot the year changed,” Beth said sitting next to me.

Phil laughed, “I keep forgetting that we did just change the year.  I had it in my head that I would have had to meet your mom in 89.  Corey, she was right.  I went to prison right after my trial in May of 1990.  I do remember going there to see a friend of mine since I knew what was going to happen.”

“If my calculations are right, you met her in April,” I said.

“I was doing the same thing in my head,” Beth said.

Phil put his arm around Corey, “Son, I’m sorry for putting you through some much agony.  I told you yesterday how it was possible but now I’m as close to one hundred percent sure as there is.  A DNA test would be a waste of money.  The pieces now seem to fit together.  You’re my son that I never knew about.  I’ve always said that was a possibility and now it is true.  What a great day this is.”

“One of the best.  Sorry but the day I married him was the best but this is pretty damn close… I’m sorry,” Corey said and pointed at me.  “That slipped out.”

“That’s fine.  I’ve said way worse in my day,” Phil said.

“Would anyone like more to drink?  I do have some cookies and trail mix,” I said.

“A cup of coffee would be great if you have that as well,” Phil said. 

“We do,” Corey said. 

“Beth, why don’t you run out to the car and get your iPad to show Corey and Matt our family?” Phil asked. “I brought just in case there was a revelation like we just received.”

With Beth heading out to their car, I headed to get some cookies and trail mix along with starting the coffee.  Inside, I felt so good and was so thankful to find those annuals.  It was as if it was meant to happen and was the key.  I could hear Corey and Phil talking and getting to know each other.

I returned with the chocolate chip cookies and trail mix.  Beth came back inside with her iPad.  I stood behind the couch and watched them go through some pictures.  Their son was Eli and now in the eighth grade while their daughter Ruth was in the fifth grade. 

Corey was looking at the pictures, “Man, I remember when I was that thin.”

“You’re not now and was another thing what really hampered me.  Eli will be thrilled to see you.  He plays soccer and has wanted to work out,” Phil stated.

“My advice would be wait until he’s 16.  That’s about when I started,” Corey said.

“You’re a trainer?” Beth asked. 

“I am.  Matt works on apps,” Corey replied.

“You know what I do plus I do work as a counselor as well.  Beth is an accountant,” Phil said.

“You’re about to be very busy,” I said.

“I already am very busy,” she said with them flipping through pictures. 

“Matt, go get our wedding pictures.  Matt was our photographer in college so we have literally thousands from then too but there’s not enough time in a day to see all of those,” Corey said.

“I will.  You can grab some coffee,” I said.

“Make mine black,” Phil requested.

I grabbed our wedding pictures.  We had to explain to them the situation after they asked how it was possible.  We flipped through the album showing our family and ones of Corey with Teague and JJ. 

“What an inspiration you are, Corey.  You went to a lot of trouble,” Phil said. “I have no doubt soon all people that desire to be married will have the right to do so all over this great country.”

“Heck, I just wanted to be married.  It just felt like the right thing to do,” Corey said.

“He was very emotional about it,” I stated.

“Phil, you were emotional at our wedding,” Beth said.

After we view the pictures, we showed them our house.  We made it to our bedroom where our nude engagement picture was on display.  Corey walked over quickly and stood in front of it.  “Sorry but you can’t see this one.”

“Why not?” Beth asked.

“We’re nude,” I laughed.

“I understand,” Phil said.  “Are you nudist or something?”

“Yes sir, we are,” Corey said.

“There’s no problem with that at all.  We live about five miles from the nude beach,” Phil said.

“Corey, there’s another reason for us to visit,” I said.  “They just added to our list of people we can visit there.”

“We’d love to have you.  There would be plenty of room for you two,” Beth said.

“Son, I see nothing wrong with nudism done in the right context. Being nude is how God intended us to be before Adam and Eve.  It’s a great way to feel freedom and natural,” Phil said. “Beth and I might even go with you.”

“Ummm…” Corey stuttered.

“Hun, let’s get to know them just a little better before that happens.  An hour ago we were about to walk out that door and he was only going to be Billy’s high school friend,” Beth said.

Corey moved away from the picture with both taking a look.  They said it was well done and quite artistic.  We continued to show them around and went out back to show them the pool as well. 

We came back inside.  “Beth, why don’t you call Steve and Amy and tell them that we won’t be making it?” Phil requested.

“No, y’all go right ahead and do what you had planned.  We understand completely,” Corey said.

“Corey, they are welcome to stay as long as they please,” I said. “We don’t have anything planned at all.”

“I know but they had stuff planned,” Corey said.

“I was thinking that we’d be here longer than I ever expected.  Maybe we could grab some dinner later on as well,” Phil said.

“That’s great,” Corey said. “I think I’ll send Teague a text message like ‘Hey cuz’.

“Call him. I would love to thank him and I need to apologize to him,” Phil said.  “He saw what I refused to believe.”

“There was little evidence other than his word. I didn’t believe it either,” Corey stated.

Beth stepped away to make her call while Corey called Teague.  I could hear the excitement in Teague’s voice when Corey put Teague on speaker.  I stepped away as well and called Kris to give him the good news.  He was very excited and so happy for Corey.  He did have a request.  He wanted me to send a picture of the two together.

I told them Kris’s request.  They stood together for me to take the picture.  It was a real nice one with their arms around each other and big smiles on their faces.   After I let them see the shot, Beth noticed that they stood the same way.  It was becoming very clear in many respects that this was undoubtedly Corey’s biological father.  We ended up taking some more with Beth taking some shots as well.  She said that she’d show them to Corey’s half brother and sister later.

Corey called his mom and gave her the news before handing the phone to Phil.  Phil thanked her for raising their son and told her what a great job she had done. 

“So, do Eli and Ruth know why you are here?” I asked after they finished.

“No, they don’t.  Since I thought it was hopeless, we didn’t tell them.  They are over at Beth’s sisters tonight,” Phil replied.

“I know Eli will understand but I’m sure Ruth will be full of questions,” Beth added. 

“I plan on using it as a great teaching experience in many respects…” Phil said.

“It will be.  I can’t wait to hear your message tomorrow,” Beth stated.

“I had something planned but that may have just gone out the window.  So guess who is driving home?” Phil asked.

Beth raised her hand and laughed.  We began to settle down after the great reunion.  We began the process of really getting to know each other and filling in all the blanks over the past 24 years.  It was so nice to see Corey relaxed and enjoying this new relationship.  After a rough start, Phil and Beth were very nice people.  He apologized over and over for being rude and short with Corey in the beginning.

We discovered that they had been married for 18 years.  Beth gave us a good laugh about how her parents freaked out once she told them she was dating an ex-con.  Beth grew up in the area where they resided with Phil moving there after his release from prison.  Phil was very open and honest about his robberies and his drug and alcohol abuse.  Corey did tell them about coming out and how he was treated.

All the talk led us to time to go to dinner.  We left and went somewhere close.  They said it would be a late birthday gift for Corey.  We continued to talk and fill in the void.  Time was passing far too quickly.

We returned to our house about 7 pm that night.  We began exchanging numbers as well as getting their address.  They would let us know when they told Eli and Ruth.  I was sure Corey would want to visit them even if it was freezing cold weather.  

“I hate that we have to go.   We’ll be lucky to get the kids in bed before 11,” Phil said.

“It’s been one great day,” Corey said.

“It sure has, son.  I drove up today with my mind set that you weren’t my son.  I heard the disappointment in your voice yesterday and came to appease you.  I would have missed out on a real blessing if not for that picture in the annual,” Phil said.

“I’m glad that I found it,” I said.

“Me too.  I think it was a great beginning.  We look forward to seeing you very soon,” Beth said.

“We’ll plan to come your direction after the kids know.  I can’t wait to meet them face to face,” Corey said.

“I hope that works as planned.  I’m sure it will.  Welcome to the family!” Phil said.

“Welcome to ours as well,” Corey said.

Phil and Corey embraced.  Phil had tears back again running down his face.  “My son!” he said patting Corey on the back.

“My dad,” Corey cried out.

I gave Beth a big hug and waited for Phil.  “I guess you’re my son in law now,” he said.

“I guess so.  That’s what my Mom calls Corey,” I said hugging him while Corey and Beth embraced.

“Let us know when you get home.  Send me a text or call,” Corey said.

“I will.  Love you, son!” Phil said.

“Love you too, Dad!” Corey said.

We stood and watched them get in their car.  They drove away with us waving.  We came inside and shut the door.  Corey quickly grabbed me and began kissing me while tears again ran down his face.  “I fucking love you so much!  You’re my hero!”

“I love you too!” I said and kissed him again.  We kissed walking until reaching our couch.

“Matt, I just knew six hours ago there would be tears of sorrow and sadness.  I was convinced that he wasn’t my Dad.”

“I was too, Corey.  I started seeing little things like how you crossed your legs, how you stood and how you reacted.  I’m ever so thankful for finding those annuals.  Without them, we’d never ever known.  It’d been your word against his.”

“I knew the moment that he saw the picture that I was his son.  His facial expression immediately turned,” Corey recounted.

“I knew it then too,” I said. 

“I think he thought I wanted something from him,” Corey said.

“Corey, I’ve never been happier for you.  This was a very big day for you personally,” I said.

“That mystery has been solved for once and for all.  The other mystery still remains.   What the hell ever happened to Gloria?”

“I have no clue.  Maybe one day she’ll call me out of the blue but I doubt it,” I replied and heard the doorbell.

“Damn, I was about to get naked and make crazy hot love to your ass,” Corey said.

“Save that then,” I said with Corey walking to the door.

“I bet ya it’s Kris,” he said.

“Wouldn’t surprise me at all,” I said.

Instead it was Scott and Brennan. 

“Man, it’s great to see you guys,” Corey said and gave them both a hug.

“Ummm… I sent Matt a text yesterday telling him we’d stop by,” Scott stated.

“Damn, do you miss us, Corey?” Brennan asked.

“No, y’all just missed my Dad leaving,” Corey answered with them walking into the living room.

“Wait, your Dad?  I thought you weren’t sure,” Scott said, looking confused.

“Now you know why I forgot,” I said. “It’s really good to see y’all.”

“I’m gonna grab some drinks.  It was going to be just me and Matt celebrating but I’m glad you stopped by,” Corey said.  “Scott, your ass is drinking too.  If you get too drunk, then we have two beds open.”

“Sounds like my ass is drinking then.  Do you have wine?” Scott asked.

“Damn, I don’t get this wine shit lately around here,” Brennan said.

“I don’t care for the beer taste at all,” Scott stated.  “You know that.”

“Bring me some too.  I think there’s a bottle in the bottom of the fridge,” I said with Scott and Brennan sitting across from me with Brennan’s arm around Scott.  Both were looking so happy.

Corey returned with the wine first and then handed Brennan a beer.  He sat next to me and threw his arm over my shoulder. 

“Before he starts, we have something to say,” Scott said and looked at Brennan.  “We’ve decided to start living together.”

“I just landed a job here.  It was killing both of us… the drive and separation.  I need that someone in my life and was bored crazy.  Scott is so special that I could let this opportunity slip by,” Brennan said and took a long drink.

“I’m happy for both of you,” I said. 

“The best part is that we may have found a place to rent about five miles from here.  It’s a small house but will do for us for now,” Scott stated.

“You couldn’t stand the separation from us,” Corey laughed.  “I’m happy for you as well.  I know things will really work out for y’all.  You both deserve good people in your lives.”

“Corey, it’s killing me over here.  What happened?” Scott asked.

Corey smiled and started from the beginning.  He did a wonderful job and kept his emotions in check while recounting the events.

“Corey that’s so awesome!” Scott stated after Corey had finished.  “So he really didn’t want to accept the facts in the beginning.”

“There were no real facts, you might say.  It was Corey’s mom thinking that he was and Teague saying Eli looked like Corey…” I explained.

“As I said, the key was the annual,” Corey added.

“Then other stuff crept out even though they had never known each other,” I said.

“Finally y’all are coming my way after I decide to move here.  That’s just my luck,” Brennan said.

“We’ll wait and see how the kids do and then go visit them,” I said.

“I’m anxious to meet them.  Scott, I have a younger brother and sister just like you do,” Corey said and took a final drink.

We talked a little longer until an idea popped into my head.  “Y’all need to go with us Valentine’s weekend to the casino,” I said.  “Kris, Melissa, Colt, Faith, Cale and Daniel are going.”

“You do.  It’ll be a blast,” Corey said.

“I don’t know…” Scott said.

“Scott, you always say you’re never invited,” I said.

“We can go, Scott.  It’ll be fun,” Brennan said.

“Okay, I guess we’ll go.  I’ll get us a room,” Scott said and pulled out his phone.  I gave him the name so he could search for it.  Corey grabbed some beer and brought over the wine bottle. 

“It’ll be a fun time.  Thinking about it, it will be fun to see Kris on the slots.  I bet Colt is tight as hell with his money,” Scott stated.

“We go to have fun.  If someone wins, that makes it even nicer,” I said. “Cale said it was really nice place too.”

“We’ll look forward to going,” Brennan said. 

Scott threw up hands.  “Oh my God, I have forgotten to tell ya.  Juan and Felicia had a little boy, Antonio.”

“When was he born?” Corey asked.

“Three days after Christmas.  He didn’t call me until just this week,” Scott replied.

“Still that’s great,” I said with Scott taking out his phone to show the picture that Juan had sent him.  He was a cute boy and did favor Juan. 

“Things are changing left and right these days,” Corey said.

“I told Kris is just part of growing up,” I said.  “I wonder who will be the next one to have a kid?”

“I’d say Kris if anyone,” Brennan replied.

“Won’t he make the best dad,” Scott said.

“I think he would since he loves kids,” I said. “So how’s Shawn and the fire academy thing going?”

“I think that he really likes it but with that I rarely see him,” Scott replied.  “I do know that he’s gonna move out very soon.”

“I don’t blame him,” Corey said with a big smile. 

We continued to talk.  Scott didn’t get too intoxicated and was willing to drive home by the end of the night.  Corey and I said that they could stay plus we enjoyed having them around.  Just a few words again and Scott was all for it.  We did miss each other being around so this was great in my eyes.


I hope you enjoyed this chapter.  I hope it come off sounding right and making sense in the end.  Watch for the next chapter in a few weeks.

After a quick test, I found that the one that I used in Ch 36 didn't start fresh and continued with the comments from before.   I went back to the other one and hope it will work for you.


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